Is the Israeli apartheid regime on edge?

February 11, 2022 - 21:11

TEHRAN- A coalition of around 300 human rights groups and civil society organizations have condemned the Israeli occupation, calling on the international community to hold the regime accountable for its apartheid practices against the Palestinians.

According to Palestinian media, groups and organizations from six European and Latin American states as well as more than a dozen Arab nations have called for Israeli authorities to be put on international trial for multiple crimes.

Those crimes have been listed as perpetration of genocide, war crimes, and racial discrimination against Palestinians. The coalition is also calling for an arms embargo against the regime as well as travel bans and the freezing of assets against Israeli military officials.

The statement commends all the support for pro-Palestinian groups who document and expose Israel’s atrocities and racism, topping the list is the international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

The statement accuses the regime of racist practices against Palestinians and its treatment claims of Palestinians as an inferior class, urging the start of a new campaign to end Israeli apartheid once and for all.

The statement is directed at the  International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague to include apartheid crimes in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in its investigations of war crimes committed by the regime’s forces in the besieged Gaza Strip; among other possible crimes committed by the regime.
Last year judges at the ICC ruled that the court has jurisdiction to investigate suspected war crimes in the occupied and besieged Palestinian territories since 2014.

The decision was made a year after ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda concluded a probe and determined that there was sufficient evidence Israeli war crimes had been committed and are ongoing.

This comes as more groups back a very lengthy report released last week by the prominent Human Rights Group Amnesty International, which declared Israel as an “apartheid” regime.

The latest reaction coming from the non-profit news agency Common Dreams promotes rights and justice and concurred that human rights groups agree Israel is an apartheid regime.

In an editorial, it says “the U.S. gives Israel's military $3.8 billion a year. According to a new Amnesty report, that money funds apartheid”.

The agency also notes that other prominent rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch have also issued recent reports on Israeli apartheid.

It denounces the U.S. State Department for relying on Amnesty International “to bolster reports” but rejected Amnesty International’s detailed report on Israeli apartheid “without even engaging with its research or conclusions”.

Common Dreams concludes that this isn’t surprising saying “the U.S. has a long history of supporting Israel regardless of its human rights violations”.

Also, at least 14 civil groups based in Israeli-occupied Palestine have defended Amnesty International’s report, in spite of the Israeli regime dismissing the report as anti-semitic.

This is a tactic that many experts agree the regime uses regularly to deflect any criticism of its crimes.

The tactic, however, appears to be waning, especially when some NGOs inside occupied Palestine itself are not buying it.

The groups, which also include B'tselem, issued a joint statement saying "we wholeheartedly reject the idea that Amnesty International’s report is baseless, singles out Israel or displays antisemitic animus. However, we are particularly concerned by the extremely irresponsible allegation of antisemitism”.

The statement adds "many of the most pre-eminent scholars of Jewish life, history, and persecution have warned that the struggle against antisemitism in the world is being weakened by the unbearable, inaccurate and instrumentalized use to which the antisemitism accusation is lodged for political ends, in order to avoid debate about Israel’s oppressive policies towards the Palestinians”.

"Attempts to distract from Israeli violations and to avoid substantive debate by hurling spurious accusations is the standard and ongoing practice of successive Israeli [cabinets] and their echo chambers overseas”.

The statement concludes "we are especially concerned about this approach in an international climate, in which antisemitism and racism are on the rise and human rights defenders are under assault”.

The report by Amnesty International certainly wasn’t the first time Israel has been labeled as an apartheid regime and it certainly won’t be the last.

Many analysts agree that Israel can get away with apartheid, war crimes, crimes against humanity, or the disproportionate use of force because it has Washington’s blanket support.

Over the past five decades, the U.S. has vetoed more than 53 UN Security Council resolutions critical of Israel.

However, for how long can Washington sustain this support?

The U.S. firmly opposed the ICC’s decision to investigate the regime’s war crimes in the occupied Palestinian Territories claiming that the ICC has no jurisdiction.

This is despite the fact that international ICC legal scholars determined the UN court has jurisdiction, so the U.S. already lost that argument.

If the U.S. believes the Israeli regime is innocent of the charges then why oppose a probe?

Critics argue that Washington is fully aware of Israeli crimes against the Palestinians and is concerned that the Israeli military occupation of Palestine which the Pentagon views as America’s largest “military base” in West Asia could by in trouble.

Former U.S. President went to the extent of imposing sanctions on top ICC officials but even that didn’t work.

Plan B? according to an exclusive by AXIOS, Israel’s “top priority” right now is to discredit the ICC probe with a wide-scale campaign before the potentially very damaging report by the UN commission is set to be published in June.

According to AXIOS, Israeli regime officials “say they are highly concerned that the commission’s report will refer to Israel as an ‘Apartheid [regime]’ and that its findings could damage Israel's reputation, particularly among progressives in the West”.

The regime is said to have “sent a classified cable to all Israeli missions around the world. It designated the commission of inquiry as its ‘top priority’ at the UN in 2022”.

The cable is reported to have said the regime was about to start a diplomatic campaign on the issue that will be increased ahead of the UN Human Rights Council meeting in March”.

AXIOS notes “Israel has had some partial successes in the past when seeking to discredit UN commissions. In some cases, UN investigators have resigned, and the judge behind a probe of the 2008 Gaza war later backtracked on some of his conclusions”.
Bit suspicious isn’t it?

Israel’s sudden move late last year to declare six Palestinian civil society and human rights groups as “terrorist organizations” despite international outrage is also widely believed to be linked to the ICC probe.

According to the leader of one of the organizations, the one thing, the six groups have in common is that they have all handed over some evidence to the ICC.

Reports and speculation have been rife that Israel took this desperate move against the groups (which have been operating for decades with international organizations) to undermine the ICC probe.

The latest report by Amnesty International and the backing of the report that has come following its publication by other rights groups highlights the discussion of Israeli apartheid is becoming embedded in international forums.

There is an emerging consensus of the reality on the ground and that reality will make it very difficult for the U.S. to come to Israel’s rescue time and time again. The U.S. itself has plenty of problems to deal with domestically with reports of a nation that has never been so polarized and it’s people carrying a record number of firearms.

As for the apartheid regime, as international awareness grows by the day, it may disappear sooner rather than later; It’s very similar to how South African apartheid disappeared after decades of action by advocacy groups.

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